Restaurant Review: ámaZ

Restaurant Review: ámaZ

Roxana Garmendia

If the jungle is calling you, you don’t have to go far to enjoy the food. ÁmaZ Patio Panorama will transport you there with the smell of the food and the beautiful décor.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)
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Lima’s landscape continues to change by the day; far are the days where agricultural or empty plots dominated much of La Molina district. In the past if you drove along the Javier Prado from west to east, you could still see from the distance the flat landscape ahead of you; this is no longer the case: a new big and modern high building block stands just in front of you as you try to navigate through the ever congested avenue. We arrived at our destination at the exclusive Panorama complex situated just past the Ovalo Monitor and headed straight to the Gourmet Patio where ámaZ Patio Panorama occupies a large part of it.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

Like its twin in Miraflores the establishment immediately transports you to the jungle: the “malocas”, hand-woven jungle communal houses for guests in search of some privacy, the colorful “koats“-mythical animals evoked when in need of rain- decorating the entrance wall, the paintings making reference to the Amazonian culture and the colorful rattan chairs but most of all, it is the exotic products they use in their cuisine followed by the “mysterious” names on the menu that make you travel and want to explore new flavors and textures. Not only will you leave more than satisfied, but surely learning a whole new vocabulary that the restaurant has compiled in a glossary for you to learn about all that the Amazon Region has to offer, including the incredible health benefits of its products.

Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, the owner of ámaZ and of the acclaimed restaurant Malabar has been traveling for years to the Amazon Region to learn about its hidden treasures, products, and cooking techniques. He has experimented with new flavors using Malabar and í¡maZ in Miraflores as real cooking laboratories. Nearly ninety per cent of the restaurant’ supplies come from the Amazon Region that extends beyond Peru into Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil. You’ll be glad to hear that when it comes to purchasing goods, due consideration is given to environmental concerns and the livelihoods of the local communities, we were told.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

So we were more than ready to start this exploration voyage through the Amazon Region and we started with a few beverages: a Lemon verbena juice, a pinkish Camu Camu fruit juice, and a mix of Camu Camu, cocona -another highly nutritious fruit from the jungle-, and lemongrass, all very nice and refreshing. We also had the Canon, a cane liqueur cocktail with plenty, I mean plenty of ginger. The restaurant has an interesting long selection of both classic and exotic drinks you may want to try as well as wines and other beverages.

As we sat on the table, the waiter brought some homemade cheese and manioc bread. Although I would normally avoid it, this time I could not resist as it was so fresh, soft and tasty, that I finished it in one go.

The starters came in and we had the “Conchas Canga with Camu Camu” (S/. 48), four grilled shells with Camu Camu flavors, a pinch of aji charapita – the famous hot pepper from the jungle-, and Parmigiano cheese on top, beautifully presented in a tray loaded with small black stones. Shells I usually don’t like, but these were so full of flavor that I devoured them instinctively. Here we learned that in the jungle “cangear” means to barbecue.

We then tried the “Tiradito Casho” (S/.55) made with amberjack fish, chestnut oil and lime. The fish was not everybody’s cup of tea but do make sure to get yourself a big spoon as the juices left behind were delicious.

For main courses we had a Steak de Paiche (S/.85) – the second largest river fish in the world – with butter and faroja de maduros, we certainly had no idea what the latter was except for the maduros which are ripe plantains. The steak was meaty and very tasty while the faroja de maduros looked very much like a couscous served with small pieces of banana, somehow dry but if you pour on top the liquid orange butter that comes along then it becomes quite nice to have.

A plate of Chonta -long white tagliatelle-type noodles that stem from a palm tree- forever present in Amazonian restaurants, was also brought in. The chonta was fresh and neutral in taste, and hence easy to have along with any other dish, I personally found it basically tasteless.

We then had the “Arroz con chorizos Ucayalinos” (S/.45) which came in a bowl sautéed with vegetables and red beans. The dish was full of flavors, extremely yummy and we all loved it.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

Time for dessert, we had the “Macambo Thriller (S/.35)”. These were profiteroles filled in with white macambo – family of the cacao- ice cream. The profiteroles were crunchy on the outside and the ice-cream was fantastic, all together, a joy to eat.

We also had the Aguajal (S/.28), a dessert presented with two layers of aguaje -a popular bittersweet palm tree fruit – ice cream with a crunchy cookie in the middle and bathed in honey. The taste of the aguaje ice cream as expected was strong, normally, I do not like it but this time, to my surprise, I did as it was quite tasty and di enjoy it very much.

We finally had coffee and a natural Muna infusion which was nice and tasted pretty much like mint.

í¡maZ will be celebrating the San Juan Festival until July 3 where Juanes -a popular dish from the jungle along with other Amazonian specialties will be served. One good thing that í¡maZ offers are the half portions that one can order in case you want to try several of these exotic and well-crafted dishes.

ámaZ Patio Panorama
Circunvalacií³n del Club Golf Los Incas 134, local 104, Santiago de Surco
Tel. 501-3122
Monday to Thursday: 12:30 to 4 pm, 7 -11:30, Friday and Saturday 12:30 – 4 pm and 7 to 12 am, and Sunday 12:30 – 4 pm
Parking: 3 floors

Finger food, cold starters, and salads – s./ 26-68
Wrapped food – s./ 38 -80
Timbuches, apis y pangos- s/ 40-70
Sauteés – s./ 40-65
Grilled dishes – s./ 60-85
Stews – s./ 48 – 78
Desserts – s./ 12-35
Hot beverages – s./8-20

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